Colm O'Gorman: How to make my quick Thai beef salad with glass noodles

I tasted a similar salad in Bangkok and it was the beginning of my love affair with Thai food
Colm O'Gorman: How to make my quick Thai beef salad with glass noodles

The first time I tasted a Thai beef salad was in Bangkok more than twenty years ago. I was there on holiday with my now-husband, our first trip away together. It was our first night in Thailand and we ate in a market in the middle of the city. It was amazing. I remember being stunned by the complexity of the flavours of that salad and then blown away by the heat. We sat there with tears running down our cheeks because the salad was so spicy, but it was so delicious we could not stop eating it. It was the beginning of my love affair with Thai food and a memory I will never forget.

That salad used bird's eye chillies, which are very hot indeed. In this recipe, I use regular red chillies but leave the seeds and pith in for a bit more heat. If you want the full experience, you can of course use birds eye chillies which are easily available these days. You can use regular caster sugar in this recipe if you wish, but I love the slightly caramel flavour of coconut sugar. This is also widely available these days and most supermarkets stock it. Use both the leaves and stems of fresh coriander for this recipe. The stalks are full of flavour, and it is a real shame to waste them.

When it comes to the salad ingredients, the fresher the better. Make sure to use crisp leafy lettuce, cucumber, red onion and cherry tomatoes. I used a combination of Lollo Rosso, Lollo Bionda and red oakleaf lettuce. Aldi sells them as a trio of lettuces in a single pack on the root which means they are really fresh and crisp when you use them. You could use a mix of little gem lettuce and some Lollo Rosso if you wish, but avoid iceberg, it is just too watery and tasteless for this dish. If you wish, you can leave out the noodles, but I love them in this salad. I always finish this salad off with some crispy fried shallots scattered over the top. You can buy those ready-made in any good Asian supermarket.

Thai beef salad with glass noodles

recipe by:Colm O'Gorman

This Thai beef salad brings back memories of Bangkok

Thai beef salad with glass noodles



Preparation Time

30 mins

Cooking Time

15 mins

Total Time

45 mins




  • For the dressing:

  • 1 red chilli

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 20g fresh ginger root

  • 20g fresh coriander

  • 6 large basil leaves

  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt

  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

  • 2 tsp coconut sugar

  • 30ml fish sauce

  • Juice of 3 limes

  • For the Salad:

  • 2 Irish angus rib eye steaks

  • 100g dried glass noodles

  • 1 head crisp lettuce

  • 1 small red onion

  • 200g cherry plum tomatoes

  • ½ cucumber

  • 125g baby sweetcorn

  • ½ sweet red pepper

  • Handful fresh coriander

  • Handful fresh mint

  • To serve

  • Chopped peanuts

  • Crispy fried shallots

  • More fresh herbs

  • Finely sliced red chilli


  1. Remove the steaks from the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for at least thirty minutes before cooking them. In the meantime, you can prepare your dressing. Peel and roughly chop the garlic and ginger. Wash and roughly chop the chilli. Wash the herbs. The best way to prepare these for your dressing is to pound them to a paste in a mortar and pestle. Add the teaspoon of flaky sea salt to the bowl and then grind everything to a smooth paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients for the dressing and combine everything together. Taste and add more lime or fish sauce to taste. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the salad.

  2. Wash the lettuce. Wash and roughly chop the herbs. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds before cutting it into thick slices. Peel the onion and slice it very thinly. Cut the tomatoes into halves or thirds depending upon their size. Finely slice the red pepper. Cut the baby corm into threes, and then blanch it in boiling water for three minutes before draining it into a colander and rinsing it under cold water to stop it cooking any further. Pop the glass noodles into some boiling water and cook them for five minutes before also rinsing them under cold water until they are cooled down. Drain the noodles and set them aside for now.

  3. Get a heavy-based non-stick pan or griddle very hot over a high heat. Season the steaks with some flaky sea salt and pop them onto the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your steaks are perfectly cooked to your liking.

  4. I like my steaks medium-rare, so I give them two to three minutes on each side until they have a nice crust, and my meat thermometer tells me they are at around fifty-five degrees Celsius. For a rare steak, aim for fifty degrees, for medium go for sixty and for well done, seventy degrees. I usually take my steak off the grill when it is a few degrees shy of the temperature I want and then let it rest for at ten minutes before serving it.

  5. While the steaks are resting, you can begin to assemble the salad. Roughly tear the lettuce leaves, leaving them in large pieces. Toss the lettuce in a few tablespoons of the dressing and arrange them on plates. Add another few tablespoons of dressing to the noodles and stir to get them well coated. Spread the noodles over the lettuce. Toss the rest of the salad ingredients in a few tablespoons more of the dressing, and then arrange those over the noodles.

  6. Your steaks should be well rested by now, so cut them into slices about 1cm thick. Cut against the grain to make sure the meat stays tender and juicy. Toss the steak in the last of the dressing and arrange the meat over the top of the salad, pouring over any remaining dressing. Garnish with some chopped roasted peanuts, some crispy shallots of you are using those, more chopped herbs and some thinly sliced fresh red chilli.

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